A Thriving Culture: 3 Tips for Firms to Implement Now

This article was provided by Racquel Pankau and the rest of our friends at Abby Connect. Racquel’s journey began as one of the first Abby receptionists, the most important role at Abby Connect. After 12 years, Racquel has helped grow the company by performing various roles from IT support to hiring, training, staff development, and culture. Today, she is the Thought Leadership Director as an educational content writer and speaker for Abby Connect.

Have you noticed a great culture is something candidates seek when applying for employment? We certainly have. Abby Connect is an in-office US-based virtual receptionist solution and we pride ourselves on having a culture where people feel at home and thrive to be the best versions of themselves.

We provide our employees with a warm, friendly and positive culture. We also give opportunities for growth and development. Giving our employees this type of environment drives better engagement as we see they are more motivated and more connected as a team. 

Our receptionists are happier and more engaged with their callers. The experience receptionists have in-office impacts the experience they provide to customers over the phone. Unfortunately, not all attorneys care if their employees are happy or fulfilled—however, if they did, they would see how culture relates to the bottom line.

Attracting new clients, retaining existing clients and employees, your law firm’s reputation, and even your and your staff’s quality of life are supported or jeopardized by your firm’s culture.

How a Thriving Culture Increases Law Firm Profits

No matter where you are in your firm, here are some tips to optimize your efforts in creating a thriving culture. After all, law firms are around to help people, but if your firm lacks a great culture there’s a good chance the same mindset and energy will filter into your client interactions which can harm your firm’s reputation and growth.

So, how do you create a culture that supports client and staff retention? Here are some great tips to help improve your law firm’s culture:

Tip #1: Identify and Document Core Values

Companies with strong core values help their employees understand what kind of culture and working environment to both expect and live up to. The interesting thing about core values is that they shouldn’t be aspirational words or actions. When you come up with core values, they should NOT be values you wish you have (or wish you were doing), but core values should be based on the characteristics and beliefs you already have.

To identify these core values, look at your current employees. What characteristics are core to your firm (even if you’re a solo)? Once you have your core values defined, document them and share them with your team, and even share them on your website where prospective clients can learn more about you.  

Use your core values when you hire, fire, reward, review, and recognize employees. Integrate these values within your interview questions and employee scorecards during reviews. If you hire (and retain) people who are aligned with your core values and enjoy working together that’s the real secret sauce to culture. When you have the right people contributing to your firm’s culture it will thrive. 

Your core values should help support your vision, mission, and even help cultivate your company culture.  

Tip #2: Increase Communication and Transparency

Your employees want to be in the know. So, talk about the things that are changing, talk about new things, and explain why you’re doing it. Even better, when you can, give your employees an opportunity to weigh in and be part of the decision. 

Quarterly surveys anonymously allow your staff to give feedback on what is working for them, not working, and what they’d like to see moving forward. Once surveys are complete, address them! Let your employees know you hear them and most importantly, what you’re doing about the feedback received.

An even faster way to get real-time thoughts is to create an outlet for employees to submit any questions they have for the executive team. Send an all-staff email to your employees on a weekly basis giving them the opportunity to ask questions (or share what’s on their minds) and communicate it company-wide.

Increasing communication and transparency builds trust in your firm. When employees see you being open and honest they will reciprocate because they feel safe and comfortable. The result? You will build stronger relationships with your staff and within your team.

Tip #3: Celebrate and Build Camaraderie

Did you know that when you do something nice for someone else there is a chemical in your brain that is released to make you feel good too? It’s called oxytocin. You literally get a high from giving to others which confirms the old saying, “you get what you give.” 

Making others feel welcome breaks down walls and barriers and opens up more opportunities based on trust. When a team trusts each other, genuine interactions and camaraderie will follow and help teams become loyal to each other and to your firm.

Here’s some great ways to show your team generosity and strengthen bonds as a team:

  • Recognize individual accomplishments – 1 on 1 or in front of the team
  • Recognize team accomplishments – throw a party, buy lunch, or send out an all-firm email
  • Create opportunities for connection – team building exercises, sports teams, or fun event
  • Host core values events – volunteering, firm-wide core values games, and recognition
  • Host annual or quarterly all-team meetings – virtual or in-person, onsite or offsite, to share company wins, goals, and individual accomplishments

Elevating your culture doesn’t have to mean throwing everything out and starting from scratch. You can make small, impactful changes in your practice that will drastically improve your firm. Don’t wait. Create a culture that positively impacts your employees with less turnover, acquires new business, and helps more clients.
If you’d like to learn more about Abby Connect, our culture, or how we provide your callers with an excellent customer service experience, click here.

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